Patagonia throws support behind Sen. Jon Tester

Patagonia is throwing support behind Sen. Jon Tester's reelection campaign, saying his reelection is vital for the preservation of public lands.

The company displayed a special message for Montanans on its website Friday:

"Public lands and waters are at risk of being sold to the highest bidder—despite overwhelming support for their protection. Development and short-term profit are now prioritized over the health and safety of communities. That’s why we need to elect leaders who will listen and stand up for wild places, and for us."

They note that Tester opposes transferring federal lands to state control. His opponent, Republican Matt Rosendale, has come under fire for remarks he made in 2014 stating that he supported federal lands transfer. (In the 2018 election season, Rosendale backed away from that stance.)

Supporters say states have the right to take the lands. Critics of federal lands transfer say it's intended to make it easier for private companies to seize control of public areas and open them for development.

Patagonia's support includes a video message from Columbia Falls-based fly-fishing guide Hilary Hutcheson.

"If it matters to you to keep public lands in public hands like it does to me, please get out and vote," Hutcheson says.

It's not Patagonia's first political foray. In December 2017, the company called out Secretary Ryan Zinke and President Trump for a plan that would have shrunk the size of two national monuments.

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